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Mike Reyes, aka Mr. Controversy, has considered himself a writer ever since he was a child. He wrote for various school publications from about 1995 until 2006, and currently runs both The Bookish Kind and Mr. Controversy, which is an offshoot of the regular column he wrote in High School. He's also a film journalist/critic for Cocktails & Movies and CinemaBlend, as well as the author of several short stories such as "The Devil v. George W. Bush". Any inquiries for reprinting, writing services, or general contact, should be forwarded to: mikereyeswrites@gmail.com

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Friday, June 13, 2008

My Abusive Relationship with Hollywood, Episode 4 (Epilogue): Roger Ebert, WHAT THE FUCK?! or "This really fucking pains me to do this..."

One of the only critics I've ever agreed with, for as long as I can remember, is none other than the iconic Roger Ebert. I was a huge Siskel and Ebert fan when I was a kid, and I've even gotten used to Richard Roeper filling the seat that long held the man who was so dedicated to movies that he bought John Travolta's leisure suit from Saturday Night Fever. My girlfriend even shoots back at me, "Thank you very much, Mr. Ebert", when I criticize a movie. Put briefly, Roger Ebert has been my hero in film criticism.

Which saddens me even more to think that maybe, he's lost his mind. While trolling for news on The Happening and its impending cultural damages, I came upon the fact that Roger Ebert gave the movie I plan to watch as a comedy THREE STARS. He even said:
"What I admire about "The Happening" is that its pace and substance allowed me to examine such thoughts, and to ask how I might respond to a wake-up call from nature. Shyamalan allows his characters space and time as they look within themselves."(http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080612/REVIEWS/545929629)

Ok...one movie. I can't agree with him on everything, and I will give him that. After all, he hated Resident Evil Apocalypse and I thoroughly enjoyed it as a:

"big popcorn-y spectacle that featured a Jill Valentine so hot, I needed to remove my clothing during the showing I was at."

(Ok, I didn't really say that, but it was quite a fun movie. Clothing on and all. I swear.)

But then, while looking at his website, I stumbled upon his review for "You Don't Mess With The Zohan", which opened:

"The crowd I joined for "You Don't Mess With the Zohan" roared with laughter, and I understand why. Adam Sandler's new comedy is shameless in its eagerness to extract laughs from every possible breach of taste or decorum, and why am I even mentioning taste and decorum in this context? This is a mighty hymn of and to vulgarity, and either you enjoy it, or you don't. I found myself enjoying it a surprising amount of the time, even though I was thoroughly ashamed of myself. There is a tiny part of me that still applauds the great minds who invented the whoopee cushion." (http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080605/REVIEWS/806050306)


You mean all of this?! You mean you didn't print either of those without at least once laughing to yourself, thinking "this is total horseshit, but let's see what everyone thinks"? You seriously weren't under any drugs or weren't just having an off day at the movies? Wow. Roger Ebert, what the fuck happened to you?

I am not happy in making the accusation that Roger Ebert has lost his shit, but I am indeed saying that Roger Ebert may have lost some of his shit after his surgery. I do not hate the man by any means, in fact he still is an idol to me in film criticism. Hell, he likes Dark City as much as I do, if not more, and he's done commentary for the damn movie twice. We both loved Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, and we both abhorred

But he hated "21", calling it:

"...nearly as much fun as watching an insurance professional compute actuarial tables."

But perhaps one of the biggest divides in the opinion of Roger Ebert and myself is that of "Speed Racer".

Ebert: "Speed Racer" is a manufactured widget, a packaged commodity that capitalizes on an anthropomorphized cartoon of Capitalist Evil in order to sell itself and its ancillary products. Corporate partners in the venture include General Mills, McDonald's, Mattel, Topps, LEGO and Target, who have furnished no promotional consideration for mention in this review.

Myself: "This movie is one giant cartoon, a living, breathing, amazingly entertaining cartoon. It's a film heavily dependent on your inner child, and whether or not they're stuck at summer camp for eternity, or if they're sitting in the living room reading comics and drawing cool designs for rocketships. I don't have to tell you which one will enjoy the film more...when Speed raced through the final finish line, in a brilliant explosion of light and sound, there were no words for how amazing it was."

I'm sorry...I really, really respect Roger Ebert, especially now that he's working through his recouperation from his surgery, which has helped him curbstomp cancer so far, but this is just...frightening. One of the most respected critics actually gave an M. Night Shyamalan film past Signs a positive rating. I mean, Roger fucking Ebert, the same man who said about Lady In the Water:

"The key to deciphering M. Night Shyamalan's fractured fairy tale, "Lady in the Water," is to remember that it is rooted in the mythology of Stephen Colbert and "The Colbert Report." It is a warning to Mankind about the dire threat posed by ferocious topiary bears in America today, and a salute to the gigantic, soaring eagle who swoops in to rescue Wet Ladies from pitiless ursine jaws and claws. Colbert oughtta sue. As a bonus, there's a naked water nymph and some angry tree monkeys with mohawks... You think I'm making this up? No, but I wonder why Shyamalan felt he needed to, given the half-hearted way he's presented his sodden fairy tale in this movie." (http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060720/REVIEWS/60720002/1023)

He gave that film one and a half stars, which was a step up from The Village's one star, which was earned by being, "...a colossal miscalculation, a movie based on a premise that cannot support it, a premise so transparent it would be laughable were the movie not so deadly solemn." (http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040719/REVIEWS/40719002/1023)

I don't care how deathly solemn it is, I'm going to see The Happening and I'm going to LAUGH!

All of these reviews aside, I still maintain respect for Roger Ebert, and I will not completely write him off as out of his gourd just yet. But I will say this, if he doesn't like Wall-E...I might just have to reevaluate my opinion of his movie criticisms.
I'm Mr. Controversy, and it looks like Roger Ebert might be teaming up with Chuck the Movie Guy to kick my ass.

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